Protect Your Assets
Property • Disaster Planning • Cybersecurity • Intellectual Property • Insuring People
Cybersecurity: Protecting Your Digital Fingerprints
If you think your business is too small to attract a cybercriminal or that you don’t have anything worth stealing, you are wrong. Small businesses have valuable information in their databases and, unlike large corporations, often no preventive measures in place to repel cyberattacks. Potential threats may come in the form of:
Website Tampering Defacing your website, hacking your system and compromising webpages to allow invisible code that may download spyware onto your device.
Data Theft Stealing your computer files and hardware or peripherals (CDs, flash drives, etc.); intercepting your emails.
Denial-of-Service Attacks Locking the computer and/or crashing your system with the ultimate goal of preventing you from conducting business with your internet-connected systems.
Malicious Code and Viruses Sent over the internet for the purpose of finding your files and deleting critical data or locking your computer/system; includes ransomware that restricts access to the infected computer/system and demands a ransom payment for removal of the restriction.
Intellectual Property: Protecting Your Ideas
Your company’s intangible assets – its reputation, name recognition, know-how and/or creative ideas – have no physical existence, yet they have commercial value and should be protected in one of three ways:
Patents A patent is a property right granted by the U.S. government to an inventor to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention without permission. “Utility patents,” for new inventions or functional improvements of existing inventions, remain in effect for 20 years; “design patents” are effective for 14 years.
Following public disclosure of an invention, the inventor has a year to file for a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (www.uspto.gov). You can apply for a patent online yourself; however, USPTO recommends seeking specialized legal help due to the complexities of filing.
Trademarks Broadly speaking, trademarks are words, symbols, names, internet domain names, packaging and labeling that distinguish one business’s product from another’s. Trademarks may be registered through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or, for more limited state protection, through the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. Although registration provides greater protection, trademarks that are not registered still legally protect owners.
Copyrights Original writing, musical works, artistic designs and other works of expression are protected under federal copyright law, which gives the author exclusive rights to use the works. Copyright lasts 70 years after the author’s death.
An author’s copyright is automatic when a work is created; for extra protection, however, simply add the word “copyright” or the symbol ©, the first year of publication and name of the copyright owner at the top of the page. To officially register a copyright (necessary if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement), visit www.copyright.gov.